Blue Rhino worker voices concerns, hires attorney
Updated On: Jul 31 2013 06:39:35 PM EDT
A day after the Blue Rhino facility in Tavares burst into flames, sending fireballs shooting into the sky and propane cylinders into the air like missiles, a worker voiced concerns about the plant.
Bobby Hutsenpillar, a 23-year-old temporary employee, was inside the plant when the explosion happened and talked exclusively with Local 6 about concerns he has with the safety of the propane plant.
Hutsenpillar's life changed just five and a half hours into his shift when a series of explosions began about 100 yards away from where he was working.
“I think it's pretty ridiculous. They shouldn't have put someone out there that has no idea what kind of stuff they're messing with,” said Hutsenpillar, who was on the job Monday for the very first time.
He told Local 6 he took off running toward the front of the plant with 11 of his co-workers after the explosion. As the booms continued, he said a supervisor hit an alarm.
“The explosion already happened, people were injured, there was no type of warning or anything like that.”
Hutsenpillar said he was never trained on any safety regulations.
“All they gave me was some safety gloves and ear plugs,” said the father of three.
Hutsenpillar claimed he was never shown where any emergency doors were inside the plant or what to do in a worst case scenario.
“I just feel like they should have gave me training in that scenario because, to be honest, I had no idea. Should I just go to a safety zone or just keep running?” he said.
When asked if he was looking to sue Blue Rhino, Hutsenpillar said no.
“I'm not looking for anything. I'm just speaking out for myself and for the other guys," he said.
But attorney Matt Morgan said on Wednesday he is representing Hutsenpillar. Hutsenpillar said he hopes a potential lawsuit will help him and his co-workers in the long run.
"I just hope they take into consideration, that I hope these guys have training before they even get on that kind of job because like in my situation, I had no idea what to do. No idea," he said.
Hutsenpillar said on Wednesday he is traumatized. He said he hired an attorney because he's had a lot of people wanting to talk to him.
Local 6 received a statement from Blue Rhino confirming Hutsenpillar's employment. According to the company, he would have had to be trained within 72 hours. They are still trying to determine what training, if any, Hutsenpillar received.
The plant did pass an inspection by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services with no violations as recently as July 19.
The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives is at the Tavares plant on Wednesday investigating.